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Evidence in palliative care research: how should it be gathered?

Samar M Aoun and Linda J Kristjanson
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (5): 264-266.
Published online: 5 September 2005

Randomised controlled trials are often not feasible or not appropriate in palliative care research

In evaluating evidence for clinical care, study designs are graded according to their potential to eliminate bias,1 and the most robust evidence is considered to come from randomised controlled trials (RCTs).2,3 However, the reliance on study design as the main criterion for credibility of evidence has its critics,4 as does this view of what constitutes the “best” evidence.5,6 In public health in particular, there is debate about the primacy of the RCT for evaluating interventions and about the tendency to downgrade the contribution of observational studies.7,8

  • Samar M Aoun1
  • Linda J Kristjanson2

  • School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA.

Correspondence: 

Acknowledgements: 

Linda Kristjanson gratefully acknowledges the support of the Cancer Council of Western Australia, which funds her chair of Palliative Care.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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